Marc Nobbs Interview

Today I'd like to welcome author Marc Nobbs to Fallen Angel Reviews. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us today Marc.

To start, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hmm, what to say? Well, I'm a happily married father of one (soon to be two - this January if all goes to plan), who lives on the edge of Northampton, one of the largest 'towns' (as opposed to 'cities') in the UK. That's something of a bone of contention in the town - we've applied to the government for city status several times over the past couple of decades and keep losing out. But that's beside the point.

I'm 37, and I've been writing on and off since I was about 15. Back then it was mostly fantasy and the like, but by the time I graduated from University I'd started writing, for want of a better term, smut. Simple, short stories with not much in the way of plot or characterisation - just enough to get the character naked and, well, you know, doing what naked people do.

I really started taking this writing lark seriously though about five for six years ago. I started writing longer and longer stories with more plot and emotional exploration and less actual graphic sex. My first stories were published by the, now defunct, website, Ruthie's Club. Phaze books published two novellas and two novels shortly after, and that brings us right up to date with my latest release.

I'm still very much a part-time writer. I have a (quite stressful) full time job and I try my best to spend as much quality time with my family as I can. So while writing comes third in my life, it is important to me. It's my form of stress relief, I guess. Some people don't understand why I do it, but I always tell them, "Hey, it's better than drowning in beer, right?"

Could you tell readers a little bit about your current release, Tutelam Venit: Book 1 - A Good Man?
"Tutelam Venit" is Latin for "to Come of Age" - or at least, that's what Google Translate told me was the Latin. And from that I guess you can tell something about what the book is about. It's a coming of age story, and this is the first of three books that I've got planned to tell this particular story.

The book is narrated by our 'hero', Paul, who is just seventeen when we meet him - a few months short of his eighteenth birthday. He lives with his elder sister in a small town called Micester in the coastal county of Westmouthshire, in the South of England. Westmouthshire (and in particular, the county town of Westmouth) was the setting for my last two books. I like to think of it as my own little universe.

At the start of the story, Paul is comfortable with the social order of things in the town, but this quickly gets turned upside down and it's this that forms the basis of the first book.

Paul is "a good man", as described by some of his classmates - all of them girls, funnily enough. In this book we see Paul helping out his friends when they are in trouble, working through his own love life, and dealing with his recent past.

And, of course, the book ends in such a way as to set up the next instalment. Be prepared for a surprise.

What was the most challenging part of writing Tutelam Venit: Book 1 - A Good Man? The most rewarding?
Actually, the most challenging scenes to write were also the most rewarding. There's some perverse pleasure in finishing off a really difficult scene to write - sitting back and going, "You know what, that was hard work but it was worth it."

There's a few scenes that I'm really proud of. The first graveyard scene (see, now you're thinking, graveyard scene? And there's more than one?) was incredibly difficult to write - very, very emotional to the point where I was actually shedding a few tears. Even now I find it difficult to read without welling up. But after it was done, sitting on the screen staring back at me…? Damn, that felt good.

Then there's the kitchen scene, where one character is cooking a meal for the other when he suddenly starts to explain just how much he loves her and why. It's a feel-good scene. And I kinda like it.

Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?
I guess the message is that life is never easy, no matter who you are, or what your circumstances are, but you get through it as long as there are people around you that love you and that you love.
I know my stories are described as romance, but I prefer to think of them as relationship-based dramas.

How long have you been writing?
As I said before, I've been writing since I was in my teens, but I've only really been taking it seriously for the past half a decade or so.

What is your favorite type of genre to read?
I'm not really a 'genre' type of person. Honestly, I'll read anything as long as it's got a good plot to keep me engaged and characters that I can empathise with and care about. I'll just as soon read an epic fantasy as I would a piece of 'chick-lit' (I hate that term) or an all-out "how-many-orgasms-can-one-guy-have-in-a-day" sex story. As long as I can care about the characters, I'll read anything.

How important is research in your writing?
I guess it depends on what I'm writing at the time. When I wrote "Lost & Found", I did a lot of research into what an American Military Funeral was like, because that was such a crucial scene that the details were important.

Most of the time, any research I do is based around getting some seemingly insignificant detail right. How long is the flight from New York to London? What time does it need to take off to get in mid-morning London time? What time is it in the UK when the Oscars ceremony starts? For that matter, what time is it in LA?

I also have use a spread sheet to map out the timelines in my stories. Sometimes it's just for the story, other times it'll include a character's backstory too. But it's all to get the details right.

Details are important to me.

Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?
Not really. I'm still the same guy whose wife keeps making lists of jobs to be done for. I hate lists. Especially when they have phrases on them like "…in the garage" or "…in the loft". Or worse still, "…ironing…"

Where would you say that you get your most creative ideas?
Oh, dear, the question most dreaded by writers everywhere throughout history. Can I skip this one? No? You sure? Go on. Please? Oh, alright then.

I think, mostly, the ideas come from the world around me, the situations I see or news stories I might see or read. Mostly I start with two characters, and a reason why they're not together or can't be together. The story then grows from there. I find that if I concentrate on letting the characters grow and become 'real', the story follows on its own - the characters guide it with their choices and actions.

So, to answer the question… Where do my most creative ideas come from? My characters, that's where. It's their story I'm telling, after all.

If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?
Now, that's a tough one. There's so many things you want to know from a readers as they're reading your stories, so narrowing it down to one is almost impossible. I want to know how they feel as they read certain scenes - did you laugh, did you cry. Basically, did you feel the what I wanted you to feel at that point in the story?

I guess that's the most important thing for me. My aim in writing is to try and manipulate the emotions of my readers, and I need to know if I'm doing a good enough job. If you're not feeling anything when you read my books, then I've failed.

Could you tell us what you're currently working on?
Tutelam Venit: Book 2. It doesn't have a sub-title yet, but I rarely give my work titles until close to completion. "Kissed by a Rose" had about five or six titles before I settled on that.

I have a plan in my head for this second book in the series, and a sketch for the third. So expect that to take up all my energies for the time being (well, my writing energies, at least). Although, there are two other plot lines that are eating away at me and seem quite eager to get written. I'd rather not try and write two books in parallel, cause that never works, but I may find I need to start jotting down some detailed notes.

If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?
I'd like to take my Galaxy S back to Thatcher's Britain in the 80's (provided it magically still worked) and show those yuppies with their 'mobile' phones the size of a house brick just what a proper smartphone can do. lol

What is the wackiest job you can think of that you would like to do?
I've always thought it might be fun to be Mickey Mouse at DisneyWorld. It's probably not. It's probably a real chore, but I do like the idea of it.

Is there anything else you would like to add today or any links where readers can find you?
Go Buy My Book! No, seriously, it's been fun, and I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to your readers. I know a lot of people think that men can't (or shouldn't) be writing 'romance', but the feedback I've had from my readers has never been anything but positive. They seem to like the fresh approach and reading about romantic entanglements from the 'man's perspective'.

So, if you're not put off by my having a penis, why not pop along to my website where you'll find my blog, information about my books and links to where you can buy them, and a few excerpts to whet your appetite.

Thank you so much, Marc, for spending time with us today!
Thanks for having me.

Interviewed by: Tammy